By the time you are all reading this, Andrew and I will be back in the Finger Lakes, the exact same place we were 1 year ago today getting engaged.
Looking back this was hands-down the best moment of my life so far. I've said it many times before, but I've thought about my wedding since I was a little girl. So much so, when I was 6 years old I started "Samantha's Wedding Book" - a binder filled with pages of inspiration ripped from wedding magazines over the years. It was easy to envision my wedding day, but I always wondered deeply who I would share that special moment and the rest of my life with.
Andrew and I met our senior year of college when I was least expecting it and certainly not looking for a relationship. However, when you know, you know and 18 days later we were official.
Our relationship has taken on so many phases over the past 6 years as we transitioned from college kids running around town to adults working in the real world. Navigating life after college can be a very difficult time for some couples. However, for Andrew and I, we only continued to grow. The thought of what our future could be only further empowered us to work towards our goals individually and together.
All couples are different, but I knew Andrew was truly my person after experiencing a few seasons of life together. It's safe to say we've taken the long road - it will be 7 years when we get married - but we felt it was incredibly important to create a picture of what our future could be first. That meant spending holidays together, meeting each other's families, combining our daily routines, sharing responsibilities, creating traditions, traveling together - the list goes on and on.
Being engaged has given our relationship a new life and new meaning. We've learned to communicate on a deeper level than ever and have had some of the most important conversations of our lives. This also means some really difficult ones. The most important piece of advice we've received so far is to set expectations. Being a girlfriend is different than being a fiancé than being a wife, and the success of any relationship is grounded in those expectations with your partner and open communication. A marriage is so much more than just a wedding, it's two individuals joining their lives, decisions, and goals together forever.
At this point, looking back at this past year, Andrew and I are so grateful for our "long engagement." Engagements can be a very overwhelming time with many pressures, stress, comments and expectations - something we honestly weren't expecting in the beginning. It took us time to adjust to this big life change and realize that it’s okay to move slow with planning. Now, one year out from our wedding we feel a sense of calm and most importantly, excitement.
While we are bound to feel overwhelmed by some things in regards to the wedding day, together we feel so fulfilled to have reached this point in our relationship and cannot wait for the journey ahead. We feel ready to end the dating chapter and begin the marriage one.
Lastly, I couldn't share this post without taking a walk down memory lane. If you would like to read the story of how Andrew popped the question click here to read our story featured on How They Asked.
Below you can see the best moment of my life, second by second. Special thank you our photographer Neil Sjoblom for hiding in the bushes to capture this moment and Lauren Priori for creating the engagement ring of my dreams!